JOSEPH ẒARFATI (so called because he belonged to the French synagogue):
Convert to Christianity and missionary to the Jews at Rome; died before 1597. He accepted Christianity in 1552, taking the name of Andrea (Filippo?) di Monti (more correctly del Monte) in honor of Julius III. He was born in Fez, and hence is sometimes called "Joseph Moro." Beginning with 1576, he delivered sermons having for their object the conversion of the Jews, which the latter were compelled to attend. He also wrote, in Italian, works against the Jews,as "Confusione dei Giudei," which he published in Hebrew under the title . The Roman Jews thereupon protested to the Curia, and refused to listen to his sermons. Nor was he more successful with his "Lettera di Pace" (), which he issued in 1581. As censor of Hebrew works in Spoleto and later in Rome he did much harm to the Jews. He was suspected of having embezzled money and of having accepted bribes.
Margulies believes him to be identical with the Joseph Moro mentioned by Joseph ha-Kohen ("'Emek ha-Bakah," pp. 111, 119) as having on the Day of Atonement, 1558, forced his way into the synagogue at Recanati with a crucifix in his hand, which he placed in the Ark. Joseph ha-Kohen says that Ẓarfati's Christian name was "Filippo," which name he may have taken in addition to "Andrea."
- Berliner, Censur und Confiscation, p. 4;
- idem, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, ii. 2, pp. 8 et seq.;
- Vogelstein and Rieger, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, ii. 172;
- Monatsschrift, 1898, p. 466;
- R. E. J. ix. 86, xxx. 260;
- Popper, Censorship of Hebrew Books, pp. 40, 41, 62, 72;
- S. H. Margulies, in Berliner Festschrift, pp. 267 et seq.